There is this untamed field right off the strip mall next to my oncologist’s office. No doubt it’ll be paved over at some point in the near future, but low economic activity and cheap rent have spared it thus far. It’s part prairie, though not quite like we had in Illinois, part swamp (I guess it does it’s best job as a runoff retention pond), part overgrown weeds and thickets. I’ve driven and walked by this particular parcel of land a hundred times, but never actually looked into it until the other day while strolling to lunch.
In the 200 yards of walking between getting blood tests done and ordering a sandwich at Panera, I had to constantly change my stride to avoid stepping on all the grasshoppers and crickets jumping about the sidewalk on the edge of this untamed land. And the noise! I didn’t know it existed. Dozens of conversations trying to outlast the other. Was it always so loud, so active? I’ve never seen anyone besides me utilize that stretch of sidewalk, but what of all those cars driving by? How often do you have the windows down? When I drive, and it’s not too cold, the windows are always down. Yeah, it’s partially because the air conditioning in my car is broken, but so what? Is it really so bad if I feel hot for 10 minutes in my car? And the sights and sounds and smells that pass you by! Oh right, this is why I try to ride my bike as much as possible. There were insects everywhere, all going about their busy lives. What those lives entail, I really don’t know.
I took my roommate’s dog for a walk a few days ago, and as dogs seem to stop and sniff every odor that crosses their nose, we pulled up next to the fence of someone’s yard. And there in the flowers, beautifully blooming themselves, were bees pollinating them, and a single grasshopper sitting on a fence post. Thinking. (I think). Or sunbathing. Or being thankful it wasn’t it some spider’s web. Or contemplating it’s next massive jump, showing off to all the other busy insects scurrying about. Or maybe just sitting there admiring another grasshopper’s springy legs. “Yeah, I bet she can jump twenty-five times her body height…”